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OPT030: Low Vision - Advanced

This module aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills to provide a high standard of advanced low vision care.

This module builds on the core knowledge acquired in OPT001: Low Vision 1 - Theory and OPT002: Low Vision 2 – Practical, to develop an ability to deliver low vision care to more complex low vision cases and specialist populations.

This course is designed for anyone who has a Professional Certificate in Low Vision or an accreditation for the Low Vision Service Wales who wants to provide advanced low vision care in the community or in a hospital setting.

This module is accredited for the College of Optometrists' Higher Professional Certificate in Low Vision. Students looking to obtain the Higher Certificate must already hold the Professional Certificate.

Practitioners without access to a wide enough range of low vision patients can still complete the advanced module without applying for the College Higher Certificate. Those choosing this path will be not be required to complete a logbook and will have a reduced number of formal cases to present.

Start dateSeptember
DurationTwo academic terms
Credits20 credits - CET points available
PrerequisitesOPT001 OPT002
Module tutorsMarek Karas (Leader)
Barbara Ryan
Tuition fees (2020/21)£1240 - Home students
£2310  - Students from outside the EU
*Please contact us for EU fees.
Module codeOPT030

Learning objectives

Following the completion of this module you should be able to demonstrate:

  • a detailed knowledge of the causes and epidemiology of low vision in specialist groups of patients. These groups are:
    • children and young people
    • those in transition to adulthood
    • people of working age
    • people with learning disabilities
    • people with dual sensory loss
    • people with a neurological and cognitive impairment
    • people with non-organic sight loss
    • people with profound and multiple disabilities
    • black, minority and ethnic groups
    • people with profound sight loss
    • those undergoing treatment, for example people currently receiving therapy for retinal disease
    • people with cortical visual impairments.
  • an awareness of the impact that key factors have on these specialist groups, including premature birth, ageing and cultural background
  • an ability to assess and manage patients in these specialist groups
  • a detailed knowledge of optical and non-optical devices and demonstrate an ability to prescribe a selection of these
  • an understanding of the interaction of mental health and low vision
  • an understanding of the evidence base for low vision rehabilitation.
  • an ability to communicate effectively with patients, carers and fellow professionals in meaningful and innovative ways
  • an understanding of the legislation and guidelines underpinning low vision practice.

How the module will be delivered

This module is taught via lectures (Powerpoint with audio) and podcasts, delivered via Learning Central, the university's e-learning system, with supporting resources and references supplied.

There are two contact days. There are online sessions of guided case-based learning, allowing students to revise and apply their knowledge in a virtual setting. There are timetabled webinars and one to one meetings designed to support students during the module.

Skills you will practise and develop

Academic skills

By studying this advanced module you will practice and develop academic skills expected at Level 7 (FHEQ) postgraduate level. Specifically you will be able to:

  • demonstrate advanced knowledge in low vision practice
  • analyse and critique the evidence base supporting your practice
  • collate information from a number of resources to support your understanding
  • show evidence based evaluations that inform your clinical practice and theoretical understanding
  • present your work using correct academic conventions.

Subject-specific skills

  • Critically evaluate knowledge at the forefront of low vision practice.
  • Develop empathy with people who have visual impairment.
  • Develop practical skills to assess and manage people with visual impairment.
  • Provide or facilitate higher standards of patient care and management within the primary care setting.
  • Demonstrate high standards of clinical decision making.
  • Appreciate the role for optometrists in provision of enhanced services in the community.

Generic skills

By studying this module you will be able to develop:

  • time management skills
  • the ability to study independently within a supported distance learning environment
  • IT skills common to distance learning, particularly with respect to online discussion methods, methods of learning and online assessment
  • improved problem solving skills
  • improved communication skills.

Syllabus content

  • The causes and epidemiology of low vision in people in the specialist groups (mentioned in the learning objectives section).
  • The impact of premature birth, ageing and cultural diversity on the groups listed above.
  • Assessment and management of specialist groups with emphasis on adaptions to the assessment method.
  • Optical and non-optical devices and their prescribing including, field expansion devices (including prisms, minifiers and mirror systems), telescopes (including bioptics) and  IT and electronic aids (including electronic magnifiers and adaptations to mainstream technology)Interaction of mental health and low vision including the epidemiology of depression, sleep disturbance, Charles Bonnet syndrome and non-organic sight loss in people with low vision.
  • Evidence base for low vision rehabilitation and the scope of professionals involved in the range of rehabilitation services.
  • Communication with patients, carers and fellow professionals involved in the care of specialist groups
  • Legislation and guidelines underpinning low vision practice.

How the module will be assessed

This module contains formative and summative assessments through the two semesters.

  • Practical day DOPs (0%): Competency at a range of practical skills will be assessed during the contact days day. The results of these assessments do not contribute to the overall module mark but thy must be passed to complete the module.
  • Long answer question (20%): Students will be asked to explore the epidemiology affecting four of the specialist groups in a long answer paper.
  • Written course discussion (40%): Students will be asked to discuss a case based on clinical case information given to them in the question.
  • Full case records and online viva (40%): Students will be required to submit case records from their clinical practice. For those wishing to achieve the College Higher Certificate in Low Vision this will be 10. For anyone else this will be 6.

In addition, students wishing to apply for the College of Optometrists Higher Certificate in Low Vision will need to complete a log book of 50 patient episodes (from at least 20 patients) directly examined by themselves. This logbook allows for experience of seeing low vision patients from specialist groups in practice to be evidenced. It can be retrospective. A sample of the submitted case records will be assessed by viva.